The Australian Federal Court has ordered Visa to pay $18 million in fines for freezing out rival currency conversion services on terminals that use its cards.
Australia's competition watchdog, ACCC, brought the case after the card scheme instituted rule-changes in 2010 that prohibited the supply of dynamic currency conversion services on POS transactions on the Visa network globally by rival suppliers.
In ruling against Visa, the Court said the penalty should send a "clarion call" to large multi-national corporations with operations in Australia that the country will not tolerate the imposition of global sanctions that contravene its competition laws.
ACCC Chairman Rod Sims says: “The substantial penalty imposed against Visa Worldwide reflects the serious nature of the conduct, which hindered the competitive process and restricted an emerging technology and service from developing under otherwise competitive market conditions."
The Court also ordered that Visa pay the $2 million in costs chalked up the ACCC in bringing the case to trial.